Encouragers invest generously in others.

I love telling this story about one of my mentors and encouragers—Keith Drury. Keith was a professor in the Ministry Department at Indiana Wesleyan University. They called him Coach D! When I was a young leader Keith demonstrated such generosity that marked my life for good. I was young and clueless in ministry and Keith was pouring leadership into a group of us young guys. I didn’t have any money and he knew there was a cool leadership conference I needed to attend. After our meeting, he handed me a book to read and stuffed it in my bag. When I later opened it, I found two 100 dollar bills stapled inside with a note that said, essentially, “I believe in you, and see you at the conference!!” I was blown away, that’s a lot of money, but back then it was a ton of money! More than the money was Keith’s investment of time and encouragement in me. The investment has dividends even to this day! It’s not just money we invest, it’s our time, love, guidance, belief and care.

Encouragers are grateful for what they have.

Gratitude is an essential attribute of leaders who are encouragers. By being genuinely grateful for what you have, your general disposition is brighter and it’s in your nature to be able to encourage. If you as a leader focus on what you don’t have, people pick that up. That makes it difficult for you to encourage others toward who they are to become. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you can’t pour your energy into what others need because those people become part of the solution to get you what you want. When you are grateful for what you have, you are naturally freed up to encourage others. Bottom line, you can’t encourage if you are not an encouraged person yourself. Take all this in knowing that leaders, even the best of the encouragers, occasionally have a bad day. That’s normal. But a leader will do whatever it takes to get through it and over it, and get back in the game. That’s my encouragement to you. You will have an occasional difficult day, but it’s all worth it. Get some counsel from a friend, shake it off, remember your calling and keep on going.